At Film Space on Saturdays at 7 pm
February is “The Month of Hard-pressed Women” at Film Space. March, “The Month of Disastrous Life.”
Film Space is to the right and in the back of the CMU Art Museum, in the Media Arts and Design building across from the ballet school. Showings are in a classroom on the second floor or on the roof, weather permitting. A contribution is requested in the donation box at the entrance – you should leave at least 20 baht. Well worth supporting.
At Film Space Saturday, February 27, 7 pm: Maria Full of Grace / Maria, llena eres de gracia (2004) by Joshua Marston – 101 mins – Colombia/ US/ Ecuador, Drama/ Thriller/ Crime. Starring Catalina Sandino Moreno, Virginia Ariza, Yenny Paola Vega, Johanna Andrea Mora. A pregnant Colombian teenager becomes a drug mule to make some desperately needed money for her family. Rated R in the US for drug content and language. Reviews: Universal acclaim: 87/83 out of 100.
Rotten Tomatoes: Consensus: In a striking debut, Moreno carries the movie and puts a human face on the drug trade. Winner of the Dramatic Audience Award at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, two major awards at the Berlin Film Festival and six awards at the Cartagena Film Festival, Joshua Marston's Maria Full of Grace follows a bright, gutsy young woman on a life-changing - and life-threatening - journey. The film sweeps us along on its heroine's unpredictable odyssey from Colombia to New York, weaving a gripping narrative of risk, determination, and survival. Confronting crises that test her to the very core, Maria finally emerges at the threshold of a new future, one that will be defined by what she wants rather than what she rejects. Pausing at that threshold, Maria makes her choice and moves forward, carried by her grit and grace.
Maria Full of Grace made its world premiere in Official Competition at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Dramatic Audience Award. It screened at the Berlin International Film Festival where it won the Alfred Bauer Prize for Best First Film and Catalina Sandino Moreno won the Silver Bear for Best Actress. At the Cartagena Film Festival in Colombia it won six prestigious awards - Opera Prima (Best First Film), Mejor Actriz (Best Actress), Mejor Pelicula Colombiana (Best Colombian Film), Premio Especial del Jurado (Special Jury Prize), Premio del Publico (Audience Award), and El Premio de OCLACC (Organization of Catholic Clergy).
Chiang Mai Mail, Mark Whitman: A masterly debut by Joshua Marston called Maria Full of Grace. This searing portrait of the life and travails of a Colombian young woman tricked into being a drug mule was one of the best films of the current, dying decade.
March is “The Month of Disastrous Life” at Film Space.
At Film Space Saturday, March 6, at 7 pm: Tôkyô sonata / Tokyo Sonata /トウキョウソナタ(2008) by Kiyoshi Kurosawa – 120 mins – Japan/ Netherlands/ Hong Kong, Drama. Generally favorable reviews: 80/81 out of 100.
Rotten Tomatoes: Consensus: J-Horror director Kiyoshi Kurosawa turns successfully to dramedy and gives a unique (and specifically national) perspective to the universal subjects of family and identity.
Best known in the United States for bizarre and unsettling horror films like Pulse and Cure, Kiyoshi Kurosawa ventures away from that category with Tokyo Sonata. Of course, Kurosawa is incapable of directing a straightforward picture, and Tokyo Sonata is no exception. Retaining the same masterful control over mood and atmosphere that he has displayed throughout his career, Kurosawa infuses this family drama with an underlying tension that permeates the film even during its most humorous moments. The story concerns a Japanese businessman, husband, and father of two, who unexpectedly loses his job. Unable to break the news to his devoted wife, he dresses up every morning and pretends to go to work, instead wasting the days away with a former classmate who is also unemployed. Although they aren't aware of his contradictory behavior, his family begins to disobey him nonetheless. His teenage son enlists in the Army in order to fight for the United States, while his adolescent son goes behind his back to take piano lessons. The longer his charade goes on, the less control he has as patriarch, creating an even deeper divide between him and his family. With Tokyo Sonata, Kurosawa has produced one of his most original and accomplished works. Equal parts social commentary and situational comedy, Kurosawa's film also feels like a thriller, thanks to the exceptionally atmospheric work from cinematographer Akiko Ashizawa and composer Kazumasa Hashimoto.
At Film Space Saturday, March 13, at 7 pm: Nobody Knows / Dare mo shiranai / 誰も知らない (2004) by HirokazuKore-eda– 141 mins – Japan, Drama. Reviews: Universal acclaim: 88/84 out of 100.
Rotten Tomatoes: Consensus: Tragic and haunting, a beautifully heart-wrenching portrait of child abandonment.
To right, Cannes Best Actor 2004
Yuya Yagira was named Best Actor at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival for his moving portrayal of the older brother trying desperately to support his three younger siblings in writer-director Hirokazu Kore-eda's masterful work Nobody Knows. Kore-eda (Maborosi, After Life) also produced and edited the film, which was nominated for the Palm d'Or and was Japan's entry for the Academy Awards. Yagira stars as Akira, a determined and resourceful 12-year-old boy forced to take care of Kyoko (Ayu Kitaura), Shigeru (Hiei Kimura), and Yuki (Momoko Shimizu) every time their mother, Keiko (Japanese pop star and TV actress YOU), goes away for extended periods of time. Akira does the shopping, Kyoko does the laundry, Shigeru causes trouble, and Yuki is endlessly cute. However, in order to remain in their new apartment, the three younger children are not allowed outside or else the landlord, who does not know they live there, will evict them. Akira tries to teach his sisters and brother, as none of them attends school, with varying success. They have no friends, save for Saki (Hanae Kan), an offbeat outsider. When Keiko disappears and the money starts running out, the children are faced with severe problems, and tragedy lurks. Kore-eda based this powerful tale on a true story of abandoned children, and he has filmed Nobody Knows with a documentarian's eye, lending it added reality that makes it that much more heartwarming and, ultimately, heartbreaking.